Summer isn’t typically the time for a warm, hearty soup, but inspired by a trip to Peru, I couldn’t wait to recreate my experience of eating quinoa as soup! Quinoa has been known as a superfood from Incan times, and is enjoying a resurgence both as a salad and as a filling main dish. As sopa de quinua, the cooked grain imperceptibly blends with vegetables to give the soup its rich and creamy consistency.
The texture of the soup immediately reminded me of another favorite, leek and potato soup. Quinoa cooks just as easily as a potato, and also absorbs the onion-flavor of leeks. The soup has a porridge-like consistency when processed in a blender, and can be thinned out by adding more stock. Peruvian cooks add other vegetables, such as squash and carrots, along with leeks.
Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, is noted for its abundant nutritional benefits and as a source of gluten-free, dietary fiber. Quinoa is actually a seed and not a grain. In Peru, where it grows in the Andean mountains, quinoa is referred to as the “mother of all grains” due to its versatility. Quinoa is available in red, white, or black varieties.
Quinoa – 1 cup, rinsed under cool water
Leeks – 2, cleaned and chopped
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Butter – 1 tbsp
Stock (vegetable or chicken) – 2½ cups
- Heat the oil and butter together in a large pan.
- Add the chopped leeks to the melted butter.
- Sauté the leeks for about five minutes, until they are soft.
- Add the quinoa. Stir-fry for a minute, until well coated with the butter-oil mixture and leeks.
- Add the stock to the quinoa. Bring the liquid to a boil
- Turn down the heat, and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the quinoa is cooked and soft.
- Blend the quinoa-leek mixture in a blender until smooth.
- Add more stock to thin out the soup. Serve hot.
Note: Add a dash of Peruvian Madre Selva or your favorite hot sauce.